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Turning an Image to Pure Black and White in Photoshop

Turning images to black and white gives them a stark, urban feel that can look great in reports and magazines. It also has the advantage of unifying images drawn from a wide range of sources, so they all look as if they belong in the same publication.

The standard method of achieving this is to use the Threshold adjustment. But this isn’t enough on its own; as we’ll see here, by using an Adjustment Layer instead, we’re able to customize the end result so as to bring everything perfectly into view.

Step 1: The starting image

You can use just about any image you like for this process. It should be a silhouette, so that the background remains pure white; otherwise, you’re likely to get stray bits of scenery looking odd as they poke out of your subject’s head.

Step 2: The standard approach

The conventional way of stylizing an image of this kind is to use Image > Adjustments > Threshold, which produces this effect by default. The face is reasonably well converted to black and white, but all the information in the sweater has disappeared – and the side of the hand has vanished entirely.

Step 3: Threshold adjustment

You can drag the Threshold slider to the left, which will brighten the image and turn a smaller range to pure black. But while this makes the sweater more defined, it completely loses the detail in the face. So Cancel this operation, and start again.

Step 4: Make an Adjustment Layer

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Threshold, and you’ll see a very similar effect. The difference is that you’re now looking at the layer through the Adjustment Layer, rather than applying the effect directly; this means you can modify the underlying layer while still seeing exactly the result you’re going to get.

Step 5: Burn the highlights

Choose the Burn tool, set to Midtones, and set it at a very low Exposure – about 10%. Paint over the over-bright areas of the image, such as the side of the hand and the forehead, which were previously blown out. As you paint, you’ll see the image darkening.

Step 6: Let some light in

You could now switch to the Dodge tool, but there’s a shortcut: holding Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) allows you to access that tool temporarily. Now you can brighten the tricky areas, such as around the eyes, to let a little more light into that region – and you can reduce the darkness in the forehead at the same time.

Step 7: The bigger picture

Make the brush size larger, and change the Exposure to about 60%. Now, when you brush with the Option/Alt key held, you’ll be able to brighten those dark areas of the sweater, bringing back much of the detail that had been lost.

Performing this technique requires a bit of going back and forth between the Dodge and Burn tools, alternately brightening and darkening to get the result you want; but if you use Option/Alt rather than switching tools each time, you’ll find the process that much smoother.

Check out the video version of this tutorial below, and get a link to download the original artwork at

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Giant Dirt-E + 2016



Sizes S, M, L
Colours Yellow/Blue
Frame ALUXX-Grade Aluminum
Fork SR Suntour XCR 32 RL-R 100mm travel, Tapered steerer, 15QR, remote lockout
Shock N/A


Handlebar Giant Connect Trail 730×31.8mm
Stem Giant Connect
Seatpost Giant Connect
Saddle Giant Contact Upright
Pedals Aluminium Platform


Shifters Shimano Acera, 19 speed
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore, Shadow
Brakes Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc, 180mm
Brake Levers Shimano Auriga
Cassette Shimano HG-300, 12×36
Chain KMC X.9e
Crankset FSA forged crankset, 24/38T
Bottom Bracket N/A


Rims Giant CR70 6061, Aluminium, Double Wall
Hubs Giant Tracker, sealed cartridge bearings [F] 15mm Thru-Axle [R] 135mm QR
Spokes Stainless Steel
Tyres Schwalbe Rapid Rob, 27.5×2.25, Kevlar Guard


Weight The most accurate way to determine any bike’s weight is to have your local dealer weigh it for you. Many brands strive to list the lowest possible weight, but in reality weight can vary based on size, finish, hardware and accessories. All Giant bikes are designed for best-in-class weight and ride quality.

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Hello, I’m a dandelion.

A lot of people call me a weed but I’m a friend and come to help you!

When you see me, remember that I’m the ONLY one who wants and can grow in that particular spot. Because:

Either the soil is too compact / hard / stomped and I want to loosen it for you with my roots.

Or there is too little calcium in the soil – don’t worry, I will replenish that for you with the dying of my leaves.

Or the soil is too acidic. But I will also improve that for you if you give me the chance.

Or a mixture of the above reasons, of course.

I’m here because your soil needs my help so best you let me grow without disturbing me! When everything is fixed, I will disappear again, I promise!

Are you trying to remove me prematurely with my root? However meticulous you are, I will return 2x as strong! Just until your soil is improved.

You can even tell by my growth at which stage my help is at. If my leaves are flat on the ground then I’m far from ready but if they all reach up then I’m already a long way on my way.

Something completely different is that I am 1 of the first bloomers in spring so I will announce spring / summer for you.

During the day when it’s hot, I open my flowers but in the evening when it cools off I close them again quickly. In fact, if it’s not hot enough during the day I won’t open them at all!

My flowers are the first food for insects after hibernation and unlike most other plants, I have pollen AND nectar, not merely one OR the other! And I am generous with them!

My flowers are even delicious for you people by the way, did you know? I used to be called ′′honey (or gold) of the poor′′ because my flowers are so sweet in e.g. jam, sauce or salad! The internet is full of recipes – check them out.

But wait until the end of May or later before you start picking and even then, don’t pick everything yet! The biodiversity and bees will be very grateful!”